Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Modern, Folio)


[1.4]
Enter Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus.
Hamlet The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
605Horatio It is nipping and an eager air.
Hamlet What hour now?
Horatio I think it lacks of twelve.
Marcellus No, it is struck.
Horatio Indeed? I heard it not. It then draws near the season
610Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
[A flourish of trumpets, and two pieces go off.]
What does this mean, my lord?
Hamlet The King doth wake tonight, and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassails, and the swaggering upspring reels;
And as he drains his drafts of Rhenish down
615The kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.
Horatio Is it a custom?
Hamlet Ay, marry is't,
But to my mind, though I am native here
620And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honored in the breach than the observance.
Enter Ghost.
Horatio Look, my lord, it comes.
Hamlet Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
625Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy events wicked or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
630King, father, royal Dane. Oh, oh, answer me!
Let me not burst in ignorance, but tell
Why thy canonized bones, hearsèd in death,
Have burst their cerements, why the sepulcher
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurned
635Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws
To cast thee up again? What may this mean
That thou, dead corse, again in compleat steel
Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous, and we fools of nature
640So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? Wherefore? What should we do?
Ghost beckons Hamlet.
Horatio It beckons you to go away with it,
645As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.
Marcellus Look with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removèd ground.
But do not go with it.
650Horatio No, by no means.
Hamlet It will not speak. Then I will follow it.
Horatio Do not, my lord.
Hamlet Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life at a pin's fee,
655And for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
It waves me forth again. I'll follow it.
Horatio What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
660That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other horrible form
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason
And draw you into madness? Think of it.
Hamlet It wafts me still.--Go on, I'll follow thee.
665Marcellus You shall not go, my lord.
[They attempt to restrain him.]
Hamlet Hold off your hand!
Horatio Be ruled. You shall not go.
Hamlet My fate cries out
And makes each petty artery in this body
670As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
Still am I called. Unhand me, gentlemen!
By heav'n, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me.
I say, away!--Go on, I'll follow thee.
Exeunt Ghost and Hamlet.
675Horatio He waxes desperate with imagination.
Marcellus Let's follow. 'Tis not fit thus to obey him.
Horatio Have after. To what issue will this come?
Marcellus Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
Horatio Heaven will direct it.
680Marcellus Nay, let's follow him.
Exeunt.